"...the Iraq Study Group advised Bush to open direct talks with Iran. Members of both parties in Congress have publicly given similar advice, as have former secretary of state Colin Powell and Robert Gates, the new defense secretary. Still, it would be naive to think that either a wall of opposition or the possibility of dire consequences would necessarily deter this president." -Craig Unger, Vanity Fair, March 2007
For Sunday Scribblings, I'm puzzled...
Where is the outrage??!! Why aren't more Americans protesting as the Bush administration draws closer to attacking Iran? The Incredible Hawk Dick Cheney is becoming increasingly vocal about the matter, strongly hinting Friday of impatience with Iran's provocative government. At a press conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard - himself a hawk and Bush ally - Cheney told reporters that "all options are on the table," vis a vis how the US would respond to Iran. "They have made some fairly inflammatory statements," Cheney said. "They appear to be pursuing the development of nuclear weapons."
Sound familiar? Isn't this the same sort of rhetoric he and his cronies used to justify going to war against Iraq? Cheney expressed concern at Iran's "fairly aggressive" role in the Middle East and its flouting a United Nations deadline to stop uranium enrichment.
While the Democratic-controlled Congress has warned President Bush he doesn't have the authority to attack Iran - see my article Hear those sabers rattling - it wouldn't be the first time the Bush administration has considered itself above the law. Look at the illegal wiretapping of American telephones and emails without court orders, the massive corruption and waste in awarding Iraqi rebuilding contracts and violating international law and human rights of 430 prisoners currently held in Guantanamo Bay, some for as much as four years.
On June 29, 2006 the US Supreme Court struck down military tribunals, declaring them illegal under US law, the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld the court ruled that the Bush administration established the tribunals without congressional authorization and violated international law. But Bush and the previous Republican-led Congress got around that in October by signing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, creating a new system of interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects. Most worryingly, the act denies prisoners at Guantanamo their right to file writs of habeas corpus, a principle demanding judicial inquiry into the legality of detention.
The principle of habeas corpus dates prior to the Magna Carta. Ulysses S. Grant was the last president to suspend habeas corpus on Oct. 17, 1871, 135 years to the day before Bush would do the same. Grant signed his order two weeks after the Confederate attack on the Union garrison at Fort Sumter. He had sent federal troops to South Carolina to stop attacks by the Ku Klux Klan against newly-emancipated black citizens. As guaranteed in the Constitution, habeas corpus "shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
Since the previous Republican-led Congress flounted the Supreme Court decision by scripting new rules for Guantanamo Bay, the right of habeas corpus for non-citizens is denied. The act also redefines the term "enemy combatant."
I'm puzzled why the Bush administration - which has thrown billions of American tax dollars into the black hole of Iraq - has been allowed to spend a projected $85 million in tax dollars spreading a disinformation propaganda campaign about Iran, as well as supporting Iranian dissidents? And who's spearheading this anti-Iran campaign designed to muddy the waters? Why none other than Dick Cheney's daughter Elizabeth!
As billions of tax dollars are wasted or squandered on the Bush administation's dubious aims, massive cuts in American education funding and school programs are underway. Education is the single most important element if America expects to maintain economic power and influence in the world. Many of the world's citizens speak at least two languages. China and India are set to surpass the US in economic growth in less than 20 years. Unless the American work force is educated to meet such global challenges, the US cannot expect to maintain its competitive edge.
Just imagine how our nation's schools could be improved with the $85 million spent for the anti-Iran propaganda campaign!
Meanwhile, permanent UN Security Council members and Germany will meet Monday to discuss further sanctions against Iran, following its decision to ignore last Thursday's deadline.
Information compiled from magazine and newspaper reports